Singleness of Purpose

Singleness of Purpose

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, ‘how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. “ 1

On Sunday, May 3rd, we heard a message from Pastor Matt & Eliza from Ephesians chapter 3. Pastor Matt stated that we are called out as both a prisoner and priest of Jesus Christ. The example from the life of the apostle Paul is laid out before us in Scripture in how to live as a prisoner and priest.

In my recent daily Bible reading, I recently was reading in the book of I Chronicles, and the following verse struck me as I was reading in chapter 12. “Of Zebulun 50,000 seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose.2The key phrase that stuck out to me was, ‘singleness of purpose’.  For a few moments today, I want us to consider what that means for us personally and corporately as a local church who seeks to bring Heaven to Earth in our community with singleness of purpose as a prisoner and priest. 

At the beginning of a new year, many people often find it helpful to document a few resolutions or goals that they want to achieve during the year. In many cases, there is likely a primary goal or objective they are seeking, and the other resolutions are checkpoint markers to ensure the goal can be attained and to help guide their purpose as they progress throughout the year. There is a singleness of purpose that drives all other actions and decisions; a waypoint marked on the compass to judge direction against. There is an element of confidence, sure-footedness, in the stated goal that this is right, and it is good.

As a teen and/or an early adult Saul sought out to persecute Christians and to thwart the spread of the gospel. His goal was to stop the spread of the good news; this was his singular purpose. Acts 8:3 states, “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” 3 His pursuit of persecution of the early church provided proof of the focus of his heart’s purpose. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. “ 4 If we are honest with ourselves, we all can recall times where we have been prisoners to our sinful nature and ill-devised plans that are not rooted in the Word of God and His righteousness. We were prisoners of our sinful and fallen human nature. We have a time where our focus is ‘but (insert your name here)’ pursuits that only lead to emptiness and destruction.

…But God

For those who have experienced new life, salvation, through the transforming work of Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father we can testify that the compass of our heart has been redirected as we are transformed from death to life. It is not only a one-time transformation, but a daily renewal of configuration that our heart’s compass is pointed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and acts of out of the goodness of God. Ephesians 2:4-7 becomes real & personal; ‘but God’ overwhelms the shame & guilt of our past, gives us a new name, purpose, and guides us on tracks of never-ending light as we journey through life as an ambassador of His mercy and grace. We become prisoners to Him as we rightly divide the word of truth as priests in our personal walk, our household of faith, and the spheres where we work and play to disciple others in a relationship with Him. Our singleness of purpose is built on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and the goodness of God.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” 5

Saul had a memorable transformation experience that we can read about in Acts chapter 9. In verses 8a and 9b, it says, “Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing…and for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” We fast forward a handful of verses to verse 18, where it is recorded, “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.”. During the span of those three days, I am curious to know what he experienced:

  • Did he experience fear in the loss of his human sight?
  • Did he experience amazement at the wonder of God & His promises being presented by the author of life?

My personal belief is that during those three days there was a radical transformation taking root in the life of Saul to turn him into who we commonly refer to as, the Apostle Paul. The Father’s purpose for Paul’s life from the beginning of time was downloaded into Paul and grafted into the purpose of his heart. I like to envision that Paul experienced a taste of the outcome of what the rest of his earthly life would produce for the history of the church for all of time—even at the expense of his own life. At a young age, Saul was trained in the Old Testament law under the teachings of Gamaliel. Saul declared himself a Pharisee of Pharisees but was also born with Roman citizenship; in that day, Saul was on a right course, the compass was set for success. However, Saul still needed to be physically blinded to allow the Father to reset the compass of his heart and fill him with all the fullness of God so that the Apostle Paul could display & declare the manifold wisdom of God throughout his missionary journeys and letters to the churches.

I trust that each of us can find personal encouragement in the story of Saul’s transformation experience and how God has used and will continue to use transformed hearts and lives with singleness of purpose to further declare His manifold wisdom and love. The Father is seeking for warriors, mighty men, and women of valor, fully equipped with gifts & talents from the Holy Spirit to serve as prisoner and priest to God for the sake of the world. May our prayer echo that which Paul penned to the church in Ephesus at the close of chapter 3.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” 6

 

 
-Shawn Moshier
 

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